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Harman HiQnet provides networked solution for dance theater

In an example of how the Harman Pro Group HiQnet audio system configuration and control protocol can be used to optimize systemwide design, programming and performance, the 300-seat Stevie Eller Dance Theater at the University of Arizona in Tucson has just completed the installation of a HiQnet system comprising Crown I-Tech amplifiers, BSS Audio Soundweb London processors and JBL VerTec VT4887 line arrays. Mark Miceli, technical director for sound at the university’s School of Dance, designed the system.

“We’re going all digital,” Miceli said. “I wanted to take advantage of Harman’s HiQnet System Architect, so I went with all the Crown I-Tech power amplifiers: the I-T6000 and I-T8000 amps, which are pretty hefty.” The main digital signal processor for the system is the BSS Audio Soundweb London BLU-80 device.

One of the problems with the original system, installed in 2004, was poor coverage, partly due to comb filtering caused by the horizontal speaker arrays. In the summer of 2006, Miceli put together a model of the dance theater and came up with a small line array system that was just right for the space. There are four VerTec line arrays per side. With EASE modeling and TEF measurements, Miceli was able to find just the right orientation for the line arrays that allowed good coverage from front to back.

The space is somewhat acoustically challenging because of the geometry of the room. Above the audience, the ceiling is very tall with a lot of catwalks and industrial air conditioning ducts overhead. Miceli needed very good control over the vertical coverage of the system in the dance theater to minimize the sound splashing up into all the ducting and catwalk. “This is where the line arrays have really proved themselves,” he said. “They’ve allowed me to focus the sound energy into the seating area and minimize splashing into areas that did not require coverage.”

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